Ahmedabad: Did unintentional poisoning aimed at pest control result in death of over 35 cranes in Victor village of Amreli district? Initial reports by the animal husbandry department have hinted at poisoning behind the deaths.
Forest department officials, however, are not willing to comment on what might have led to the poisoning. “Primary reports have shown that the birds have died due to poisoning. It could be human-induced or natural. Nothing can be said until further reports come,” said JK Makwana, DFO, social forestry.
But those in the know said that the birds may have died after feeding on pesticide-laced grains which farmers use. “There is a problem of wild boars and nilgai. Many farmers, to save their crops, often add urea and other pesticides in the water and even leave behind crushed groundnuts dipped in urea water for the boars,” said Manga Thapa, who was first alerted about the death of the cranes.
He said that many farmers also do it to keep the birds away. “The birds may have consumed the pesticide-laced water and groundnuts meant for boars,” said Dinesh Goswami of Kodinar nature club. Makwana, when asked if the birds may have eaten pesticide-laced groundnuts, did not deny the possibility. “But nothing can be said,” he said.
A source, who has worked in the region, said that the primary targets could have been boars. “The Nilgais usually eat what they want and go but the boars destroy the entire standing crop and hence they were the primary targets. The birds must have fed on groundnuts and died in the process,” said the source.